Recently I conducted a bible study from the N.T. book of Ephesians. The passage we were dealing with covered Paul’s prayer from prison for the struggling Christians in the godless city of Ephesus. Paul did not pray for their health, wealth or blessing. He did not ask them to pray for his swift release from the Roman prison from where he wrote. But rather he prayed that God would grant the power to serve God and a fuller knowledge of God’s wonderful grace.
As we looked into this remarkable prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19, I was conscious of how shallow, self-absorbed and me-centred so many of my prayers are. In Paul’s situation I would most definitely have asked the church to pray for my swift release. The reason Paul did not, is that he had come to see that, as he focussed on the expansion of the gospel of God’s grace and the wellbeing of others and their needs, God would work out His purposes in Paul’s life in due time.
May I ask you what has been the content and character of your recent prayer? Have you been praying for the spiritual growth and development of others? Have your prayers been more about God, His kingdom, His grace and the spiritual wellbeing of others, or have they been mainly about yourself and your comforts?
I challenge you, as I challenge myself; let us pray more over spiritual things in the lives of others and the expansion of God’s kingdom, and less about our wellbeing and comforts.
Prayer is standing in the gap for others.